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July 12, 2013

The 1970s saw a wave of change roar through the comic book industry as a mass infusion of new young talent entered the field for the first time in decades. The long time status quo was overturned as new writers and artists brought fresh perspectives to old established characters, and introduced new characters and concepts of their own into the mix.

One of the more unique characters to surface at Marvel Comics during that era was Deathlok the Demolisher. Introduced in Astonishing Tales #25 (August 1974), Deathlok was the brainchild of artist Rich Buckler, who had established his credentials following the legendary Jack Kirby as artist on Fantastic Four. With the help of writer Doug Moench, Buckler crafted the tale of a post-apocalyptic near future, with society fallen into lawlessness and chaos.

Luther Manning, a soldier fallen in battle, was subjected to a top secret military experiment that grafted his brain and other surviving organic tissue into a mechanical humanoid body, making him into a prototype living weapon. With his human memories erased, the newly christened Deathlok was programmed to perform high risk military missions. Eventually, however, his submerged human personality began to emerge and reassert itself, with Manning ultimately rebelling and taking control of his own destiny. Note that Deathlok predates the eerily similar cinematic Robocop by 13 years.

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